Ethiopian peacekeepers from Tigray seek asylum in Sudan

Apr 28, 2022, 8:45 PM | Updated: Apr 29, 2022, 9:57 am

NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — Some Tigrayan troops have refused to return home after serving as peacekeepers in the disputed Abyei region on the border between Sudan and South Sudan because they fear for their safety, according to the Ethiopian military.

The Ethiopian military in a statement blamed the defection on what it said was misinformation spread by supporters of the Tigray People’s Liberation Front, or TPLF, the party of Tigray’s fugitive leaders. That statement cited “false narratives spewed by the lobbyists” on behalf of the TPLF.

Ethiopian troops made up the majority of the 4,000-strong peacekeeping force in oil-rich Abyei, although Sudan was opposed to the presence of Ethiopians as peacekeepers.

“We defected because we want to raise awareness about the siege in the Tigray region,” Gebrie Kidane, a peacekeeper who is now seeking asylum in Sudan, told The Associated Press. “Besides, it is not safe for us to return home. They could arrest or even kill us if we return.”

The Ethiopian army didn’t cite the number of defecting troops, but Gebrie said they are more than 500.

This is the second defection incident involving Ethiopian peacekeeping troops in recent months.

At least 100 Ethiopian peacekeepers deployed to Sudan’s Darfur region defected and asked for asylum in May 2021. All of them were ethnic Tigrayans.

Tens of thousands of people are feared to have died in Ethiopia’s civil war that erupted in November 2020 after Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed sent his troops into Tigray, alleging an attack on an army base there carried out by Tigrayan forces.

Ethnic Tigrayans have since been targeted in mass arrests across the country. Even some Tigrayan members of the Ethiopian army have been detained.

Rights groups have implicated both sides in war atrocities, although federal troops and their allies face most of the accusations.

Ethiopian authorities have outlawed the TPLF, making it difficult to hold peace talks.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


FILE - This Sept. 2015, photo provided by NOAA Fisheries shows an aerial view of adult female South...
Associated Press

Researchers: Inbreeding a big problem for endangered orcas

People have taken many steps in recent decades to help the Pacific Northwest's endangered killer whales, which have long suffered from starvation, pollution and the legacy of having many of their number captured for display in marine parks.
22 hours ago
FILE - Hiring signs are displayed at a grocery store in Arlington Heights, Ill., Jan. 13, 2023. Emp...
Associated Press

Pay transparency is spreading. Here’s what you need to know

U.S. employers are increasingly posting salary ranges for job openings, even in states where it’s not required by law, according to analysts with several major job search websites.
22 hours ago
Meadowdale High School 9th grade students Juanangel Avila, right, and Legacy Marshall, left, work t...
David Klepper and Manuel Valdes, Associated Press

Seattle high school teacher advocates for better digital literacy in schools

Shawn Lee, a high school social studies teacher in Seattle, wants to see lessons on internet akin to a kind of 21st century driver's education, an essential for modern life.
22 hours ago
South Carolina Senators hear from the parents of people who died from fentanyl overdose on Jan. 19,...
Associated Press

With overdoses up, states look at harsher fentanyl penalties

State lawmakers nationwide are responding to the deadliest overdose crisis in U.S. history by pushing harsher penalties for possessing fentanyl and other powerful lab-made opioids that are connected to about 70,000 deaths a year.
22 hours ago
FILE - In this July 3, 2014, file photo, the Microsoft Corp. logo is displayed outside the Microsof...
Associated Press

Microsoft adds AI tools to Office apps like Outlook, Word

Microsoft is infusing artificial intelligence tools into its Office software, including Word, Excel and Outlook emails.
4 days ago
FILE - This photo provided by the Alaska Volcano Observatory/U.S. Geological Survey shows the Tanag...
Associated Press

Alaska volcanoes now pose lower threat, after quakes slow

Diminished earthquake activity led authorities Thursday to reduce the warning levels at two volcanoes on an uninhabited island in Alaska’s Aleutian chain because of the decreased potential for eruptions.
4 days ago

Sponsored Articles

SHIBA volunteer...

Volunteer to help people understand their Medicare options!

If you’re retired or getting ready to retire and looking for new ways to stay active, becoming a SHIBA volunteer could be for you!
safety from crime...

As crime increases, our safety measures must too

It's easy to be accused of fearmongering regarding crime, but Seattle residents might have good reason to be concerned for their safety.
Comcast Ready for Business Fund...
Ilona Lohrey | President and CEO, GSBA

GSBA is closing the disparity gap with Ready for Business Fund

GSBA, Comcast, and other partners are working to address disparities in access to financial resources with the Ready for Business fund.

Medicare open enrollment is here and SHIBA can help!

The SHIBA program – part of the Office of the Insurance Commissioner – is ready to help with your Medicare open enrollment decisions.
Lake Washington Windows...

Choosing Best Windows for Your Home

Lake Washington Windows and Doors is a local window dealer offering the exclusive Leak Armor installation.
Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
Ethiopian peacekeepers from Tigray seek asylum in Sudan